Thanks to advances in minimally invasive surgery, pain management, preoperative preparation and rapid rehabilitation methods, patients of Dr. Craig McAllister at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland can now receive outpatient hip and knee replacement surgery. Dr. McAllister and EvergreenHealth were the first physician and hospital team on the West Coast to offer outpatient hip and knee replacement surgery.
Dr. McAllister and his team perform nearly 400 primary hip or knee replacement surgeries annually. Since December 2013, more than 50 percent of his patients have been outpatients, a rate that leads national trends and surpasses the 10-year forecast nationwide, according to Dr. McAllister.
“Patients are happier, and tend to recover better at home,” said Dr. McAllister. “And as outpatients, the overall cost of care is lower.”
With the outpatient procedure, patients can be in and out of surgery and back home in the same day. The average hospital stay for traditional hip and knee replacement patients is two to three days, and many patients require extended stays in skilled nursing facilities.
For Helen Zielke of Bothell, the outpatient surgery meant less pain and swelling, greater flexibility in her knee and the freedom to go home as soon as she wanted.
Zielke had her right knee replaced through outpatient surgery at EvergreenHealth in May 2014, a little less than a year after having her left knee replaced through conventional surgery. This time, she was able to return home, where her husband cared for her in the first four days following surgery, as soon as she was ready.
What most surprised her, Zielke said, is that she did not experience any pain in recovery. “I had a hard time believing that I had the surgery until they showed me the bandage.”
Patients who qualify for the outpatient surgery — typically healthier, more physically active individuals — go through an intensive pre-operation informational program with Dr. McAllister. The program includes one-on-one patient specific education for the patient and their family members to prepare them for an optimal surgery and healing experience.
For more information about Dr. McAllister and his approach to hip and knee replacement surgery, go to www.jointcure.com. For more on EvergreenHealth, go to www.evergreenhealth.com.